Papuan Borderlands: Huli, Duna, and Ipili Perspectives on the Papua New Guinea Highlands
University of Michigan Press, 1995 - Social Science - 440 pages
". . . engages key issues of history and contemporary socioeconomic development at the same time that it puts a new and important regional piece in the ethnographic map of New Guinea. . . . a laudable example of how theoretical issues in cultural anthropology can be illuminated through individual case studies." - Bruce M. Knauft, Emory University
When Papua New Guinea achieved independence in 1975, the area of the western Highlands was considered a remote hinterland of the new nation-state. Today its mineral wealth- including the sensational Porgera vein of gold- has made it important to national and international economies. Most of the major scholars who have conducted research in the area here explore this critical interstitial zone, focusing on the history and culture of the Huli, Duna, and Ipili peoples. The volume provides a timely response to the keen interest in this remote, rural, and still largely traditional area.
Papuan Borderlands also makes crucial theoretical contributions to the study of anthropology and history. Noting how the various valleys and ethnic groups studied were linked through marriage, ritual, travel, and trade long before "first contact," the contributors show that the anthropology of this area must be pursued as a history of contact. Such a history centers on intercultural processes unfolding in borderlands, and it challenges any presumption that local entities are "encapsulated" within national or global entities.
Papuan Borderlands will be essential to those interested in Melanesian history and ethnography.
Aletta Biersack is Professor of Anthropology, University of Oregon.
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